Head, Heart, Hands and Health: What 4-H means

What the different H's mean for the backbone of 4-H.

A sense of belonging is something that people in society generally look for and, according to Michigan State University Extension, youth are no exception. In the developmental stages of ages 9 through 11, belonging is a key component to growth and development. In a 4-H setting, it is important for clubs to say the 4-H pledge at each meeting in order for their members to have a sense of belonging. Making a commitment to the four H’s helps the members commit to something bigger than themselves.  Head, Heart, Hands and Health are the words that thousands of 4-H members live by. Each time they recite the pledge they are giving their all, not only for their club, their community and themselves, but also for the whole world.

“I pledge my Head to clearer thinking,” is a way of saying that 4-H members will dispel all the thoughts and ideas that will only hold them back as an individual growing in today’s society. Through these words members learn to stop caring solely about themselves and concentrate more on other people and things that are in greater need than they are. 4-H members can grow as individuals with leadership skills and kindness to make the world better for all. Thinking with a clearer head also allows 4-H members to think of other things of greater importance in life, such as heart.

“I pledge my Heart to greater loyalty,” is pledging to care more for other people versus only thinking of one’s self. Through the pledge, members commit to being faithful to each and every person and guarantee to help out if anyone is ever in need. The ability to have “heart” can make a member become a giving person who puts others needs before their own and gives out what they need with their Hands.

“My Hands to larger service,” is a promise to give the world as much as a member can. Like “heart,” giving your hands to larger service is when a member steps back from their own personal needs and gives to others what they can. Through “hands” 4-H members gain the ability to give strength to others. 4-H members have the opportunity to get out in the community and show everyone how much care their hands hold, while being able to maintain their own personal Health.

“My Health to better living,” is the only part of the 4-H pledge where a member thinks of themselves more than others. Through all the thinking, caring and giving it is easy to forget about one self and endanger personal health. The importance of knowing their own personal needs so they do not get overlooked because of the other three H’s is the main reason why a member can think, care and give so much to others to the best of their ability.

“For my club, my community, my country, and my world.” The 4-H pledge stretches past local concerns to make the world better for all. The 4-H pledge has taught thousands to use their head and not think of themselves as much as they should think of others. It has taught them to love everyone with their heart, to give to people in need with their hands and to make sure that their own health is strong, to live better, while making their own personal best, better.

If you are interested in learning more about the 4-H pledge or how you can get involved in a movement that believes in Head, Heart, Hands and Health for a club, community, country and world, visit MSU Extension.

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